Sri Lanka’s trade gap for the first half of the year 2012 widened 11.8 percent Yearon-Year to US $ 4.7 billion, a statement released by the Central Bank noted.
The income from exports during the six months fell 2.2 percent YoY to US $ 4.96 billion while expenditure on imports rose 4.2 percent YoY to US $ 9.28 billion.
The import expenditures on petroleum products and transport equipments during the first of 2012 rose 20 percent and 28 percent YoY to US $ 2.5 billion and US $ 606 million, respectively.
Only the exports income from rubber and mineral products recorded YoY increases while income from textile and garment products and tea fell slightly compared with the first half of 2011.
Meanwhile, during the month of June, the trade balance narrowed 21.8 percent to US $ 663 million, which the Central Bank described a result of adopting the right policies. “This is the lowest level recorded by the trade balance since February 2011,” the Central Bank said.
The exports income in June fell 7.9 percent YoY to US $ 755.8 million with all export categories underperforming except mineral products.
Earnings from tea exports in June fell 13.6 percent YoY to US $ 101.4 while rubber export earnings declined 15 percent YoY to US $ 64 million. The export earnings from textile and garments also fell 6.3 percent to US $ 310.6 million.
The expenditure on imports in the month of June fell 15 percent YoY to US $ 1.4 billion while expenditure on consumer goods also declined 25.6 percent YoY to US $ 231 million. The petroleum imports in June rose 16.3 percent YoY to Rs.400 million.
According to the Central Bank, expenditure on imports of motor vehicles and gold declined, by 58.9 per cent and 71.1 per cent respectively. Expenditure on investment goods fell 21 percent YoY to US $ 272.4 million.
The data showed that worker remittances during the month of June rose 12.1 percent YoY to US $ 452.3 million.
As at June, foreign reserves stood at just above US $ 6 billion which was equivalent to 3.5 months of imports.
“In the meantime, with the receipt of the ninth and final tranche of US dollars 414 million under the IMF-Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) facility, proceeds from the fifth international sovereign bond of US dollars 1 billion and other foreign inflows, gross official reserves are estimated to have risen to around US dollars 7.1 billion by end July 2012,” the Central Bank said.